This study attempted to find a difference between heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP) and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) during stepping exercise on land versus in water.
The subject population consisted of 44 asymptomatic females 18-22 years old who routinely exercised for less than half an hour, four times a week.
Each subject performed a five minute aerobic step test, once in chest deep water and once on land (on two different testing days) using a randomized counter balance order (in which half of the subjects were tested on land first and the remaining subjects were initially tested in the water).
An analysis of variance revealed a higher rate of perceived exertion on land than in water at the .039 significance level. HR and BP did not show a statistically significant difference during land based versus aquatic stepping, but there was a greater increase in these cardiovasular factors in the land based environment.
A five minute aquatic stepping test produced the same cardiovascular effects as land exercise (no statistically significant difference between land and water HR and BP), but was perceived as being easier (statistically significant difference between land and water RPE)